Correspondent in Mexico City
During her visit to Mexico, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Arancha González Laya, has avoided apologizing for the Spanish conquest in the country 500 years ago and has insisted on the need to build bilateral relations “on the past, but looking to the future.”
González Laya has commented that in the meeting he held with his counterpart in Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, spoke about the 500 years of the Conquest and the 200 years of Independence, and assures that Spain “will intervene in the acts of celebration with events and meetings.”
On the occasion of the previous Hispanic Day, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, again urged the Spanish authorities to apologize to the indigenous peoples by the “imposition” and the “plunder” of the conquest. «The comments that the Mexican president made about the letter about Spain to the Pope, excuse me …, that has also lost a bit of momentum. Every X months the subject comes up. You have to review it in the long term and manage the difficulties that may arise. Mexico is an important and brother country and long-term relationships must be built by putting a lot of effort into managing difficulties, ”the minister assured.
The ministerial delegation goes to Mexico to work multilaterally, the Summit of Ibero-American Countries in Andorra, but there are three main reasons for their attendance in the country: to create momentum between the EU and Mexico with the Free Trade Agreement between the two as All-important backdrop. According to the minister “already negotiated”, but “in need of a political impulse so that it can be signed next year, as Spain and Mexico want (later, with the maximum interest of Portugal).” This agreement is of vital importance since includes for the first time the fight against corruption, the connection of SMEs between both markets and issues such as, for example, public purchases in sub-federal entities.
Third and last: the bilateral meeting that they had scheduled in no less than 2018 (did not take place due to the motion of censure) and 2019 (elections). It was to be organized in 2020. It will finally take place in the first semester of 2021 where economic, financial, climate change, trade, foreign relations, infrastructures will arrive, represented by each corresponding minister of the branch. Also, the parliamentarians of both countries will meet.
Work of Spanish companies
On the other hand, Minister González Laya has emphasized the work of Spanish companies in Mexico due to the wealth and jobs they generate. «How do you take charge of the new Mexican-Spanish reality? Some businessmen comment that they cannot attend the meetings themselves (when they were very well regarded) and Mexican representatives have to go instead. Spanish companies do not know how to react. What does it offer them? Will this moment pass or will it get worse? Regarding questions from ABC in an appearance before the media at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Mexico, he clarifies: “I don’t think there is a problem with Spanish companies. We are winning many contests in multiple sectors. I hope this is not a general problem ”.
He continues: “I would make a distinction between what the president says and what happens in reality.” “What happens in reality is that there is a delicate issue in the energy sector, but there is no general questioning of private companies, nor do I think there can be. Hundreds of Spanish companies are established in Mexico, but also North American, Canadian… ». He clarifies for ABC that “one thing is morning pronouncements (daily speeches that President López Obrador grants at 7:00 am) with what then happens in reality. What I do observe are two important issues: the first a low public investment and the second a reform of the energy system which is not very clear and therefore creates uncertainty, “he said. Later, he confesses that he has “read all the statements by López Obrador in the ‘Mañanitas’ about Spain, which make a total of 30 very interesting pages” that he recommends.
The presence of Mexican companies in Spain has been used and vice versa. 70,000 million investment in Mexico, but we have 30,000 in our country. And it is that we are the second investor country in Mexico, but Mexico is the second investor in Spainña of non-EU countries. Spain is positioned as the second investor country with a very solid force, as the minister testifies. 6,500 companies that generate 1,300,000 jobs and only surpassed by its neighbor USA with a border of more than three thousand kilometers. «It was important for the Government of Spain to put on the table the value of commercial relations between the two. We live not in independence but in the interdependence of the 21st century to value these companies at a time when in this country they talk about the presence of the company, and in particular, in some sectors such as energy, “he concludes.